Coachella Brand & Influencer Hits & Misses
The hype and hustle hit a fever pitch.
On this week’s episode of the always entertaining and often insightful Culture Journalist podcast, co-host Andrea Domanick astutely said of Coachella, “the festival itself and many of its attendees are there to participate in some sort of sale, whether it's their brand or their clothing or themselves.”
It’s been long acknowledged that the mega-festival serves as the gravitational center of a marketing solar system around which the biggest brands orbit like planets, often with their own satellite events. Meanwhile, asteroids circle like millions of attendee Instagram pics and Twitter-user hot takes, while the occasional comet (Chloe Cherry) lights up the sky.
Like everything else about Coachella, it’s impossible to truly capture the scope of brand activations—corporate, celebrity or personal—taking place for two weekends in April. But here are a few of our personal takeaways:
Free Food Never Fails
The line for the Postmates tent giving out free Erewhon Juice was too long to deal with. Fortunately, we were able to hop right into the Lay’s Potato Chip tent next door and sample some new flavors. We’re still craving more truffle chips—seriously.
Making Your Own Metaverse Is Hard
While the onsite Absolute.Land activation was popping, the virtual version looks like it failed to gain much traction (if the lack of Web2 mentions is an accurate gauge of engagement). Perhaps they should have built on a more established platform where users already are, versus starting from scratch on still-emerging Decentraland.
People Are Paying For Off-Site Parties
Offsite brand activations are always billed as list-only influencer extravaganzas. But that didn’t stop more than one hustling promoter from texting us offers of guestlist to parties — for a price. At least Soho House had the decency to put pricing on its Desert House website.
You Can (Almost) Ignore It All
As much as Coachella has opened up the spigot of brand partnerships over the past decade, the organizers still go to incredible lengths to make sure the average attendee can gaze across the amazing panorama and not encounter a single logo — unless it’s plastered on an attendee posing in front of the ferris wheel.
Salient statements from this week’s music news.
Though no longer the delivery vehicle for hearing music, the vinyl LP as talisman has never been hotter.
Takeaway: The album tops the latest Billboard album chart with the equivalent of 59,000 sales in the United States. Of those, 49,500 were for the vinyl version of “Call Me” — on two LPs — which were sold only through Tyler’s website. It is the biggest week for a hip-hop album on vinyl since 1991.
2. In Its First Full Quarter With Major Label Licensing Deals, Snapchat Explodes With 18% Daily Active User Growth
An extensive catalog of music is again proven to be a key way for digital platforms to boost their usage—even from the back of the pack.
Takeaway: TechCrunch has pointed out that Snapchat’s growth rate is faster than that of Facebook (which reported its first DAU dip during Q4 2021) and Twitter, and especially given the coming summer concert season, it’ll be worth following the point’s significance on the music side.
Event admissions seem like the obvious use case for blockchain. But well-entrenched practices built to block competition could stand in the way.
Takeaway: Because of long-term contracts and not very secret deals that share these exorbitant ticket fees with venues, promoters, and sometimes even artists and the dominance of a handful of key players, change will be hampered unless fans, artists, and even the federal government demand it.
While most supports higher royalty rates, the artist paying for the privilege of receiving them seems like a flawed concept.
Takeaway: It says that on average, independent artists are earning 60% more royalties through the system versus the traditional ‘pro rata’ model used by most streaming services. It also says that in the last year the number of artists signed up to make money on SoundCloud – a pre-requisite for joining the Fan-Powered system – has grown by 30% to 135,000.
If people don’t have to go to clubs to get laid, and DJs don’t have to hang out at clubs to get booked, will there be anyone left to go to clubs?
Takeaway: Artists using gigmit also gain access to a database of leading clubs and venues, allowing them to message bookers directly in the hope of getting a foot in the door. And while the contact list includes some big names—Berghain and fabric are listed—there's no guarantee they will respond to artist requests.